In late February, Archer’s Debate Team finished their season in second place for small schools. They compete in the Western Bay Forensics League, and the final debate topic was fitting for Archer’s team: the benefits of single-sex education.
The team practices for much of the school year, from September to late February. They meet every Tuesday and Thursday after school.
There are two types of debate in which members can compete: Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas. Public forum is a partner style debate– the majority of topics are fact-based. Lincoln Douglas, however, is a single debate, which means one person competes against another and the topics are more philosophical and ethical.
Members can either compete as a junior varsity or varsity member. Sarah Wagner ’16 described the value of participating: “Debate is a great chance to learn about world topics that are relevant. It can also teach you how to argue a point effectively—a skill that is extremely useful in life—and in English essays.”
Debate Captain Fatima Toksanbaeva ’14 said that she “attended around five [competitions].” She was “undefeated for one of the tournaments and was the number 10 speaker at a travel tournament.”
Toksanbaeva explained further, “Each debater gets speaker points for each round that they compete in. The points are then added up and then the competitors are placed according to their speaker points.” There were 70 competitors in that competition.
Toksanbaeva said she “love[s] traveling to tournaments because [she] get to see other places and the tournaments usually take places at universities like Stanford and Berkeley, which have amazing food.”
She adds that the team’s goals were “to get 3-3 at a travel tournament, which a lot of our members accomplished.” Another goal was “to get the debate team’s name out more and get more people interested in joining.”
Although Toksanbaeva is leaving for college in the fall, she says, “I hope the debate team will continue to grow and we will have more of our members going to state competitions.”